Posted on August 31, 2021
A project director mom, a system administrator dad, and the most adorable 6 years old daughter trying to navigate parenting, work, education, family time, and their day-to-day lives in the middle of the pandemic. If that doesn’t sound so easy, it’s because it’s not. In fact, studies have shown that 52% of employed parents with children younger than 12 say it has been difficult to handle child care responsibilities during the pandemic. However, you’d be surprised to find out that Miss Charity Santiago and Sir Paolo Santiago had found a way to not just make it work for their family. They even devised a way to have peace, comfort, and fun despite the pandemic.
Both Miss Cha and Sir Pao admitted that adjusting to the lockdowns and restrictions had not always been a walk in the park since both of them have a full time job that requires their expertise, time, and effort. But being in quarantine for so long, Sir Pao said that it’s like clockwork now. Below are their tips on how they achieved the work-family balance that almost all of us have been vying for.
Take care of yourself as well
There has always been the notion that parents need to sacrifice everything they have for their children. We do know how challenging and a little harmful that is. Miss Cha couldn’t agree more. She said that despite her busy schedule, it had been important for her to at least have some meditation time and exercise time before work. She would really make it up to a point to wake up very very early to have that small yet precious time all to herself.
Understand each other
Since both of them have been in the company for a long time, Miss Cha for 12 years and Sir Pao for 10 years, they are adept with their work by now. As a project manager, Miss Cha has meetings after meetings on a daily basis. She even mentioned how her only break throughout the day are meal times. Sometimes, not even then. Sir Pao, on the other hand, has a more flexible working hour. She said that Sir Pao can see that she has a lot to juggle during the weekdays, so it had been his task to cook for them, go to the market, and do other household chores. During the weekends, it had been Miss Cha’s turn to return the favor. She would let her husband sleep in and cook for them. “We just have to understand each other and work together,” she said.
Know what works best for your child
Online classes are now the trend, even for very young children. However, Miss Cha and Sir Pao said, “We tried online classes last summer but we didn’t see the value in it.” So they chose to homeschool their daughter Phoebe. Now they have a homeschool provider who gives them guidelines and schedules. It’s even Deped accredited. Sir Pao mentioned that it had been Miss Cha’s task to teach Phoebe since he admits that Miss Cha is a better teacher. However, since she can’t do it during work hours, they have a strict rule of ending work at 7pm. Time after that is for prioritizing the education of their child.
Automate or delegate anything that you can
As a true IT family, it was through their own words to “automate or delegate anything that you can”. Some of their investments to help with their day to day life are dishwasher, washing machine, dual monitor, and robot vacuum cleaner. “Since we have the technology to make life easier for us, why don’t we use it, right?”
Manage your time well and learn to prioritize
Sir Pao and Miss Cha had been interviewed separately for this article, but both of them included time management and prioritization as one of their tips for working parents such as themselves, proving how in sync they are in finding the work-family balance. Miss Cha advised that, “You need to set in your mind your schedule for the day. Plan in your head the tasks you need to do at that time of the day. Ask yourself what do I need to prioritize?” Sir Pao on the other hand mentioned that, “you need to have limitations for your tasks or else, you’ll just lose track of time and you would have wasted a lot.”
As two individuals who had been together for almost 20 years and married for almost 8 years, there is no doubt that Miss Cha and Sir Pao is a team. Whether it be tackling their day-to-day lives, their demanding workload, the struggles brought about by this pandemic, they are two people who know their own capabilities and inabilities, admire the other’s strengths, accept the other’s weaknesses, and stay by each other’s side through laughter and late nights. While Miss Cha and Sir Pao’s work arrangements have evolved into a more digital one with less face to face work interactions in their business dealings, it has increased intimate interactions with their dear daughter. On a macro level, Infobuilder has evolved and continue to improve its business processes, including internal to enable everyone to work in the comfort of their homes and spend more time with their families. The ecological, financial, social, and economical changes recently have been challenging for everyone. Given these hurdles, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that in every cloud, there’s a silver lining. You just have to always be on the lookout.